LAMA BLOG

Sam Francis, A Private Collection

September 19, 2016

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA) is pleased to announce the auction of an important collection of works by leading abstract painter Sam Francis (1923–1994) on October 9, 2016. These remarkable works on paper belonged to one of the artist’s closest confidants. With an outstanding provenance and exhibition history, this is an extraordinary opportunity to collect five of Francis’s best pieces (Lots 284-288).

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Sam Francis (pictured middle), March 1987

Francis stands out among the great post-war American artists for his virtuosic use of color. His work was shaped by his years in Paris, where he studied the paintings of Matisse and Monet, and came into contact with Art Informel, the European action painting movement. Francis first found fame in 1956, when his work was included in the group exhibition, 12 Americans, at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Lot 284, Sam Francis, Untitled (SF62-020), 1962
October 9, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

Peter Loughrey, Director of Modern Design & Fine Art, states, “Untitled (SF62-020) (1962) is perhaps the most iconic example of Francis’s work ever offered by LAMA. His use of bright primary colors in an asymmetrical composition recalls the finest Japanese calligraphy while also referencing the bold action of abstract expressionism.” It was around this time that Francis began using acrylic paint more regularly, which he often combined with commercial emulsion and printing ink. Inspired by these technical experiments, which he developed during his printmaking, Francis’s innovations expanded the definition of painting.

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Lot 287, Sam Francis, Untitled (SF66-100), 1966
October 9, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

Also on auction is Untitled (SF66-100) (1966), a prominent example of Francis’s dynamic approach to his craft. Visible brushstrokes convey the powerful and expressive way in which it was executed. Highly-pigmented paint drops are splattered confidently across the paper, revealing the influence of Jackson Pollock’s drip technique. The work demonstrates the artist’s considerable skills with brilliant color, a quality Francis prized above all others. “It’s the element in painting which I am most fascinated with. It is an element of painting which overcomes me… Color in a way is a receptacle for a feeling and a way for you to hold it until understanding arrives or meaning is extracted.” Francis dedicated himself to achieving these saturated tones, working with rich custom-made tints which were often incredibly rare and obscure.

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Lot 285, Sam Francis, Untitled (SF78-957), 1978
October 9, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

Based in California since 1962, Francis is the quintessential Los Angeles artist. Despite this, the artist never broke with his international connections and maintained studios in New York, Tokyo, Bern, and Paris on and off from the 1950s to the 1980s. Francis’s presence in major museum collections around the world, including Fondation Maeght, Saint-Paul-de-Vence; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville, Paris; Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin; Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Museum of Modern Art, New York and Tate, London is a testament to his global perspective.

Lot Information:

Lot 284
Sam Francis
Untitled (SF62-020)
1962
Acrylic on paper
Signed and dated in graphite verso
Sheet: 22″ x 30″; Frame: 30″ x 36.75″
Together with copy of exhibition catalogue
This work is identified with the interim identification number of SF62-020 in consideration for the forthcoming Sam Francis: Catalogue Raisonné of Unique Works on Paper. This information is subject to change as scholarship continues by the Sam Francis Foundation.
Provenance: Private Collection, Santa Monica, California (acquired directly from the artist)
Exhibited: “Sam Francis Works on Paper 1953-1986: The Ranchito Collection,” Roy and Frances Brandstater Gallery, Riverside, February 19-March 19, 1987
Literature: Sam Francis Works on Paper 1953-1986: The Ranchito Collection. Roy and Frances Brandstater Gallery exh. cat. 1987. #4.
Estimate: $40,000 – $60,000
October 9, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

Lot 285
Sam Francis
Untitled (SF78-957)
1978
Acrylic on paper
Bears the inscription in graphite “T” verso
Sheet: 19.5″ x 14″; Frame: 26.75″ x 21.75″
This work is identified with the interim identification number of SF78-957 in consideration for the forthcoming Sam Francis: Catalogue Raisonné of Unique Works on Paper. This information is subject to change as scholarship continues by the Sam Francis Foundation.
Provenance: Private Collection, Santa Monica, California (acquired directly from the artist)
Estimate: $25,000 – $35,000
October 9, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

Lot 286
Sam Francis
Untitled (SF75-119)
1975
Acrylic on paper
Signed and inscribed “For Marty/a dancing/door to the/good life/Sam/Sam Francis” verso
Sheet: 13.5″ x 11.5″; Frame: 23.25″ x 20.25″
Together with copy of exhibition catalogue
This work is identified with the interim identification number of SF75-119 in consideration for the forthcoming Sam Francis: Catalogue Raisonné of Unique Works on Paper. This information is subject to change as scholarship continues by the Sam Francis Foundation.
Provenance: Private Collection, Santa Monica, California (acquired directly from the artist)
Exhibited: “Sam Francis Works on Paper 1953-1986: The Ranchito Collection,” The Roy and Frances Brandstater Gallery, Loma Linda University, Riverside, February 19-March 19, 1987
Literature: Sam Francis Works on Paper 1953-1986: The Ranchito Collection. The Roy and Frances Brandstater Gallery exh. cat. 1987. #14.
Estimate: $15,000 – $20,000
October 9, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

Lot 287
Sam Francis
Untitled (SF66-100)
1966
Acrylic on paper
Dated in graphite “66 Paris” verso; signed and dated in blue ink and red pencil “Sam Francis/Bern 1968” verso; bears the inscription in graphite “G66-100/15 x 18″ verso
Sheet: 14.875″ x 18″; Frame: 24.75″ x 26.75”
Together with copy of exhibition catalogueThis work is identified with the interim identification number of SF66-100 in consideration for the forthcoming Sam Francis: Catalogue Raisonné of Unique Works on Paper. This information is subject to change as scholarship continues by the Sam Francis Foundation.
Provenance: Private Collection, Santa Monica, California (acquired directly from the artist)
Exhibited: “Sam Francis: Gouaches from 1949 to 1975,” Los Angeles Valley College, Van Nuys, October 27-November 20, 1975; “Sam Francis: Works on Paper, a Survey 1948-1979,” Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, September 11-October 28, 1979; “Sam Francis Works on Paper 1953-1986: The Ranchito Collection,” The Roy and Frances Brandstater Gallery, Loma Linda University, Riverside, February 19-March 19, 1987
Literature: Sam Francis Works on Paper 1953-1986: The Ranchito Collection. The Roy and Frances Brandstater Gallery exh. cat. 1987. #6.
Estimate: $25,000 – $35,000
October 9, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

Lot 288
Sam Francis
Untitled (SFM81-119)
1981
Monotype of dry pigment, inks, and oils on paper
Unique
Signed lower right sheet
Sheet: 29″ x 25″; Frame: 39″ x 35″
Together with copy of exhibition catalogue
Provenance: Private Collection, Santa Monica, California (acquired directly from the artist)
Exhibited: “Sam Francis Works on Paper 1953-1986: The Ranchito Collection,” The Roy and Frances Brandstater Gallery, Loma Linda University, Riverside, February 19-March 19, 1987
Illustrated: Sam Francis Works on Paper 1953-1986: The Ranchito Collection. The Roy and Frances Brandstater Gallery exh. cat. 1987. #21.
Estimate: $12,000 – $18,000
October 9, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

Leave a Reply

BID AND FOLLOW ON THE LAMA APP